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Detecting Deception: Reverse the Order of Events and Create Cognitive Load

This piece of research supports what has been taught in Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation® for many years.  Having your subject describe events in reverse order creates significant cognitive load for them and makes it much easier for the interviewer to uncover points of deception.  It is also least likely to contaminate the subject’s statement.

Check in out:

Law and Human Behavior Volume 32, Number 3, 253-265.   August 2007

Increasing Cognitive Load to Facilitate Lie Detection: The Benefit of Recalling an Event in Reverse Order

Aldert Vrij, Samantha A. Mann, Ronald P. Fisher, Sharon Leal, Rebecca Milne and Ray Bull


In two experiments, we tested the hypotheses that (a) the difference between liars and truth tellers will be greater when interviewees report their stories in reverse order than in chronological order, and (b) instructing interviewees to recall their stories in reverse order will facilitate detecting deception. In Experiment 1, 80 mock suspects told the truth or lied about a staged event and did or did not report their stories in reverse order. The reverse order interviews contained many more cues to deceit than the control interviews. In Experiment 2, 55 police officers watched a selection of the videotaped interviews of Experiment 1 and made veracity judgements. Requesting suspects to convey their stories in reverse order improved police observers’ ability to detect deception and did not result in a response bias.

Stan B. Walters, CSP “The Lie Guy®
Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation®

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